It is just lovely when you can make people smile with good service, a nice glass of wine and a lovely meal. Put these three elements together and you offer people a little bit of heaven.
Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
Follow your gut!
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
It is difficult to say as I like to try different restaurants. If I want a special treat, I really enjoy places like Celeste at The Lanesborough. The dining room is incredible, as is the food and wine list. One of my other favourite places in the world is a brasserie called De Cirque in my hometown in Mechelen. It is a classic Belgian brasserie with good food and a nice atmosphere. It is also based in one the cosiest markets in the city.
What motivates you?
This sounds really cliched, but every so often, I’ll see a guest in the street or at the local market and they will say how much they enjoyed their last experience, or they will ask about the team. It makes me realise the difference we can make to somebody’s day.
What keeps you up at night?
Nothing, as I am not a worrier. If something bothers me, I will deal with it there and then.
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
Simon Bezuidenhout, he was my restaurant manager when I worked in Trinity. He taught me a lot; whether its calculating GP, sending me to do my WSET courses, how to run a restaurant and how to deal with staff.
What time do you wake up?
Coffee or tea?
Coffee, I love the taste, the aroma, the smell of the beans. Coffee reminds me of being with family on a Sunday morning at the breakfast table.
How often do you check your email?
After service, probably too much.
How do you let off steam?
By going to Belgium. Seeing my friends and family gives me so much energy. Go to The Gouden Vis (favourite pub) with my girlfriends and drink some Belgian beer.
Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?
Both and neither!
What’s your signature dish to cook at home?
I don`t have a signature dish. When it is our day off, I like to browse different recipes and try out new things, accompanied by a gin and tonic.
In normal times, I start my day in the office, go to church and then go back for lunch service until the last guest leaves. After service, we often have a roast dinner and a glass of wine with the team, then I head back to the office to tie up any loose ends.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
We bought ourselves a puppy a few months ago and it is the best decision we have ever made.
Favourite holiday destination?
France. I love the gastronomy, the people, the wine and the authenticity.
What are you currently reading?
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
What boxset are you currently watching?
Daniel and I always alternate when choosing a series. It is currently his turn and we are watching ‘Death in Paradise’.
What was your dream job growing up?
I liked a little bit of everything – being a restaurateur, owning a shoe shop, or being a chocolatier.
Worst business decision?
I genuinely do not believe that people can make bad decisions, as every decision is an opportunity to learn.
Best business decision?
Opening The Greyhound in Beaconsfield with [my husband] Daniel, without a doubt.
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Learn, study as much as you can and push yourself. Don't give up and keep reminding yourself of your goals.
If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
I think mental health awareness should be higher on the agenda in the industry. Its great to see so much work being done recently but there is definitely more that can be achieved. We recently placed all our team on a course to be mental health first aiders. This is something that is going to be really important to all businesses as we come out of lockdown.
Born in Oostende, Belgium, Vandezande-Crump first studied for a bachelor degree in hospitality management, before following that up with a degree in real estate management. Her first role in the industry was as a waiter on cruise ships. In 2012 she became assistant manager of Adam Byatt's Michelin-starred Trinity restaurant in Clapham, London. This was followed by a stint as assistant manager of Gordon Ramsay's Petrus in Knightsbridge, and then restaurant manager of The Oxford Blue in Old Windsor. Vandezande-Crump opened The Greyhound in Beaconsfield with her husband, Daniel Crump, in 2019.